Value giant B&M has reported a “good” start to the Christmas season’s trading and a decline in first-half earnings.

Alex Russo

Alex Russo said B&M’s ‘value-based approach is winning with existing and new customers’

B&M suffered a 16.7% decline in statutory profit before tax to £201m in the six months to September 24, when adjusted EBITDA also fell but group revenues advanced 1.8% to £2.3bn.

Sales at B&M’s core UK fascia slipped 0.9% year on year and like-for-likes were down 3.9%. However, like-for-likes rose 2% in the second quarter after a 9.1% fall in the first.

The retailer said it had made “strong operational and financial progress” at its Heron Foods grocery division where sales increased 14.6% “as consumers were attracted to our convenience discount stores”.

Trading has been “good” in the first six weeks of the golden quarter, B&M said. UK like-for-likes rose 2.5% and the retailer confirmed its profit guidance that group adjusted EBITDA would come in between £550m and £600m.

B&M chief executive Alex Russo said: “Sales momentum is good as we enter a difficult period for the economy and consumers. Our value-based approach is winning with existing and new customers, and we will do our very best to help them weather the cost-of-living crisis. We are well positioned as we trade through the golden quarter and our strategy remains unchanged − a relentless focus on price and product.”

  • Sign up for our daily morning briefing to get the latest retail news and analysis